Recently a customer asked for help with a problem they were having with finding Gaskets they needed for older model carburetor re-builds.
The customer re-builds carburetors for the older type Porsche motor cars. They were finding that the old car Gaskets were no longer available from the OEM or were extremely expensive. In some cases they were being forced to buy a kit of parts when they just needed one type of Gasket.
Their first Gasket requirement was for the Porsche 356. They had a sample Gasket which we used as a model to reverse engineer the new Gasket. The main challenge was that no engineering drawing existed so specific details that we normally need to make a Gasket were not available. To overcome this, we electronically scanned the existing Gasket to produce a new drawing. We were then able to produce a custom die which we used to manufacture the new Gasket.
We found a suitable equivalent material on the McMaster Car web site. We decided on a lightweight vegetable fiber material, 1/64” thickness. This material was resistant to water, oil and inert gasses with a max pressure of 250 psi, -20 to +250 degrees F temperature range, per MIL-G-12803 spec and RoHS compliant.
The customer received the new Gasket within 2 weeks of initially asking us if we could help. See photo of the existing Gasket (red) and the new Gasket (brown).
Cost issue resolved by MOQ
The cost of making qty 1 Gasket is prohibitive but it is not so far out of bounds with a low MOQ quantity. The price all depends on the size and complexity of the Gasket but as a rough guide the die would be $125 which includes scanning and making a new drawing, with the price of making each Gasket at $0.50 each at a MOQ of qty 50. The only other cost would be the raw material.
Other EOL applications
There are lots of End of Life products where the OEM no longer provides supply chain support. If you have a carburetor re-build or any other project that needs a Gasket you can no longer source, please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Other possible applications include all older car models, motor cycles, aerospace, marine vehicles etc.
Creative die cutting solution for cutting LEXAN material.
Over the last few years we have worked very closely with an OEM who manufactures a metallic product for the entertainment industry. They needed a ring made from a type of plastic that was hard wearing but most importantly had a critical and very small width dimension, 0.100”.
The small size of the part and the thickness of the material (0.010”) plus the exacting width dimension made this a very challenging project. But we enjoy a challenge and we were determined to find a solution.
We recommended Lexan Polycarbonate material as it is strong, impact resistant and durable which is ideal for the repeated usage and it can also be die cut quite easily.
Good so far, but the 0.100” width dimension is difficult to achieve. We tried the conventional ways of die cutting circles but our sample parts did not produce the 0.100” critical width dimension.
We finally had the idea of using 2 different rule profiles. So we made a new die which both cut right through the Lexan and also cut in 2 different positions at the same time and producing the required width dimension. Success.
This very creative die cutting was the perfect solution to a challenging problem.
Our engineering expertise with over 20 years die cutting experience plus our perseverance was the secret combination that manufactured a ring which met the critical width dimension.
We continue to push the limits of steel rule die cutting enabling us to deliver an excellent quality product with ever challenging requirements to our customers.
If you have a challenging seal or gasket manufacturing issue let us help you, call or email.
3 years ago our customer initially manufactured 1 product size but it’s now available in 3 different sizes (1.5”, 2.25” and 2.75” diameters). We have been able to apply our creative solution to all 3 models and now produce 3 different size rings, see photo.
In our experience we can save our customers between 25-50% using this clever technique
In most of cases the cost of the raw material is the most expensive element of die cutting manufacture so we always try our best to maximize the part yield from the raw material. This is especially important with part drawings which call out 1 side with PSA (Pressure Sensitive Adhesive) or if the part itself is made from an adhesive tape. When purchasing any raw material which has an adhesive side it always has a high MOQ. Because the adhesive has a short shelf life the raw material must be produced by the OEM or the distributor as a order on demand – raw materials with adhesive are not held in inventory.
One of the main ways that we can keep our customers costs to a minimum is a strategy of making the dies with more than one part number on them – this is called “nesting”. There are some requirements: that the customer requires multiple parts from the same raw material and that the number required of each part number is the same quantity. In our experience using this strategy reduces the total overall costs by between 25-50%.
One of our customers had a requirement for 3 small parts to be die cut manufactured using a 3M VHB (Very High Bond) adhesive tape. 3M VHB tape is very expensive and has an exteremly high MOQ. Using our maximum yield strategy we were able to make a die with the 3 parts nested together which resulted in a price to the customer at 60% it would have cost using qty 3 dies of each of the 3 parts individually, see photo.
If you have any questions regarding costs and how to maximize the use of the raw material please contact us at (858) 279-3343.
A few weeks ago we were asked by a potential new customer if we could cut Fabric. This is a common question and one i always tend to worry about because the answer is always "it depends". The variable inputs include how firm the fabric is, whats the thickness of the fabric and how detailed the cuts need to be. Also, there is always a "surprise" with cutting fabric - something that crops up unexpected.
This customer www.fleeceworks.com wanted a series of parts making using the same fabric but with different designs and different material thicknesses. We and the customer were up for the challenge to see if Die Cutting was the best option to manufacture the parts. There were 3 different parts using 3 different thicknesses (1/4", 1/2", 3/4") of Fabric that were required.
We met with the customer and had a few discussions of how to produce the best service in terms of optimizing the material yield while still keeping the unit cost as low as possible. The surprise was that the Fabric arrived at the shop in large quantities in 60" widths and in lengths up to 72 feet - a challenge of handling and storage. But, we have a very "get the job done" attitude" and so we spent time before taking the best action.
Our solution was to make 1 die of the 2 similar design parts "nested" together on a 4 up die so that every time we hit the die we made 4 parts. The other larger part was put on another die using common rule to minimize the material being used. We succeeded in producing the best possible yield at the lowest possible cost.
The lesson we learned is that Die Cutting Fabric is very possible but "it all depends".
A San Diego start-up company needed to protect a suspension area on their newly developed bikes. Eminent Cycles www.eminentcycles.com are selling a bike that can be custom designed and has the highest possible quality parts. They needed a supply partner with a go-get attitude so they decided to ask Alpha Custom Solutions to source the material and manufacture a product that would meet their exacting specifications.
The final product is made from HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) at 0.035" thickness. This type of plastic has few branches so it provides a high-strength-to-density ratio which is ideal for a bike application. HDPE material is rigid but provides strength and flexibility but also important for outside use as it is UV and moisture resistant.
If you have a need for a custom product please contact: www.alphacustomsolutions.com
About the Author
With over 25 years of experience in the manufacturing industry, Martin Chell brings a wealth of knowledge to his client projects. He has worked with large companies including Qualcomm and completed projects in a variety of aerospace, biotech and other applications.
“The die cut samples look great.” ~ Aquapail
“Thanks so much for the great service.” ~ Robert, Hat Fitness
“The gaskets worked out just fine. Thanks for your help.” ~ Chong, Redpoint Engineering